SFDF Staff

The SFDF team work together to advise and support FDF on a broad range of issues and activities.


Dr Colette Backwell, SFDF Director

Collette BackwellColette is responsible for the overall strategy and management of SFDF. She is part of the senior FDF management team and sits on the SFDF Executive Committee. Colette liaises with government, regulators and other external organisations to identify and act on issues that impact on food and drink manufacturers.

Colette represents the interests of Members' on the following:

  • CBI trade association committee;
  • Ministerial Joint Obesity Group;
  • Scottish Government's Resilience Advisory Board for Scotland (Food) (RABS Food);
  • Scottish Government's Food Implementation Group for the Obesity Action Plan;
  • Scotland Food & Drink Executive Group;
  • Scotland Food and Drink Skills Group;
  • SFDF Schools Programme Advisory Group.

Colette has operated at senior level in the Scottish Government, Defra and more recently local government. Colette is a scientist with expertise in research, food, farming and animal health, she is an experienced leader and highly respected within her field.


Mary Lawton, Policy and Industry Liaison Manager

Mary LawtonMary's role is to represent and promote the common interests of SFDF though dialogue with government, regulators and other external organisations and to identify and act upon issues of concern to members. She set up the Cross Party group on Food at Holyrood in 2004 and continues to provide the Secretariat.

She liaises with the FDF team in London to ensure that they are briefed on Scottish policy issues and works collaboratively on areas of joint interest. She is a member of the FDF's Health and Wellbeing Stock-take Group and Incident Management Working Group. She also sits on the SFDF Executive Committee. In order to represent Member's interests Mary is a member of:

  • Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee (SFELC), a strategic advisory body to FSA Scotland;
  • Scottish Government's Food Implementation Group and Reformulation Working Group for the Obesity Action Plan;
  • Stakeholder Advisory Group of the Food and Health Alliance;
  • SFDF/Zero Waste Scotland/ Interface Resource Efficiency Industry Advisory Group.

Mary is a chartered chemist and worked in industry and trade associations in London and in Brussels. More recently, she was responsible for food policy at Consumer Focus Scotland.


Kirsty Ritchie, Communications and Administrative Executive

Kirsty RichieKirsty's role is to coordinate and develop appropriate communications activity and event management, to showcase the achievements of SFDF and inform and engage members on industry issues.

She works with FDF to write appropriate communications for members, is responsible for the website and the coordination of events. She also provides the secretariat for the SFDF Executive Committee and sits on the Scotland Food & Drink Communications group. Kirsty is the first point of contact for the Scottish media.

Kirsty has a retail business background. She has gained valuable communications and administrative experience while working for Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Scottish Parliament.


Moira Stalker, National Co-ordinator for SFDF Schools Programme.

Moira StalkerMoira is the National Co-ordinator for SFDF's Schools Programme, which is supported by the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, and Education Scotland.

Whilst the food and drink industry in Scotland is classed as a priority industry, it continues to experience skills gaps and labour shortages. A Future in Food facilitates industry and education partnerships to help to deliver the curriculum, using food as the context, and in doing so demonstrating the broader relevance of the skills and subjects learned in schools to the industry. It helps school children make the connection between the food on their plates, what they are learning in school and employment and rewarding careers in our dynamic industry.

Moira works closely with a wide range of additional stakeholders and partners from industry, education and the community to support this activity and to develop and deliver an inspiring programme for the future of our industry.

Prior to joining SFDF, Moira worked with Scottish Enterprise's food and drink team. Before that she ran and managed the original Food and Drink Challenge. Moira also spent a number of years working in industry as an Industrial Engineer.


Chris Peace, Industry Technical Manager

Chris PeaceChris is the Industry Technical Manager for the Reformulation Programme, which is funded by Scottish Government (Health).

The main aim of the programme is to work with Scottish food businesses that do not have large/any technical or new product development resource, to help them reformulate their products. Chris provides free hands-on support to reduce levels of sugar, fat and salt across their product ranges. The overall project is guided by an Obesity Advisory Group comprising staff from SFDF, Scottish Government ( Health), FSA Scotland and senior technical staff from the food industry.

Chris has over 25 years' experience of working in the food manufacturing industry. He has occupied a number of managerial roles, but most recently specialised in technical and new product development roles, working alongside major UK retail customers.


Leaghann Watson, Interim Office Administrator

Leaghnn WatsonAs Interim Office Administrator, Leaghann provides administrative support for the SFDF office. She assists the Communications and Administrative Executive during event season and supports the rest of the team with bespoke SFDF projects.

Leaghann also provides PA support to SFDF Director Dr Colette Backwell.

Leaghann is working part time at the moment whilst she studies for a degree in Primary Education.


Last reviewed: 16 Jan 2014